Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

 
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

 
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

 
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

 
Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

How cats conquered the world

Link here. This first large scale study of the DNA of ancient cat remains tracks how felines initially spread through human society in the ancient world.

The article and the researchers appear to make one mistake, however, in questioning whether cats have been domesticated. Anyone who owns a cat can answer that question unequivocally: No! Cats merely agree to live with us, on the condition that we treat them as they demand.

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17 comments

  • Jim Jakoubek

    Cats a domesticated creature? HA!

    In my 50+ years of life there has always been a cat in the mix. My parents had them and when I was growing up and when I went out on my own, one of the first things I did was acquire a cat.

    I can tell just by the inflection of a meow what it wants from me that is when it wants to interact with me in the first place! The old saying goes that a human does not own a cat but rather is eventually trained to serve it and in my experience that is indeed true.

  • Localfluff

    4,000 and 5,000 years ago, and probably much earlier, similarities between humans and cats and other animals were not strange at all. This until a few hundred years ago. And even today with humans riding horses. Pretty strange stuff!

  • Willi

    Dogs have masters, cats have staff…

  • Wayne

    As always, I’m open to (almost) anything that helps Cat’s, expand their reach, into Space.

    “The Naming of Cats” in T S Eliot’s own voice
    https://youtu.be/TXkLgtusza4

  • Michael

    I have always felt that we should send a cat to the Space Station.

    This would be the one time I would favor declawing … at least till we know the result.

  • wayne

    Michael–
    You mean… they don’t already have one? (HAR)

    >They will need their claws to hunt for escaped lab-rodents.

    I’m not sure however, how we attach those Velcro-booties to their paws, while maintaining claw-extension, so they can perch in a stable fashion. (But that’s for the engineering-department.)

    ok, I can’t resist–
    Slow Motion Flipping Cat Physics | Smarter Every Day 58
    https://youtu.be/RtWbpyjJqrU

    not to mention that classic Nasa video from the… what is it, the Vomit-Rocket (?)

  • Andrew_W

    A dog looks at its Human and thinks, he feeds me, gives me shelter and cares for me, he must be a God.

    A cat looks at its Human and thinks, he feeds me, gives me shelter, and cares for me, I must be a God.

  • Andrew_W

    Michael

    I have always felt that we should send a cat to the Space Station.

    This would be the one time I would favor declawing … at least till we know the result.

    One of the earlier SF authors (Clarke?) once recounted an experiment conducted to determine how cats would orientate themselves in zero G, the original plan was to send a cat up in something like the vomit comet, but that was decided to be too expensive way back then, so the plan was changed to sending the cat up in a fighter jet inside the cockpit with the pilot.
    As recounted, the video showed the cat clinging to the pilot as the aircraft climbed to altitude, then when the pilot throttled back to achieve zero G he pulled the cat off him, and released it in free air inside the cockpit, magically the cat was able to seemingly teleport itself across the cockpit and re-attach itself to the pilot, the pilot tried it again and the same thing happened, on the third attempt that cat WAS NOT GOING TO LET GO, so little was discovered other than than in unusual situations cats instinctively cling to humans as a point of stability.

  • INSOMNiUS

    September 20, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    You read my mind, Andrew_W, and beat me to post it!

  • wodun

    I am not so fond of cats because they are serial killers of birds and I am allergic to them but I do think dogs need to go to space. The question arises that when we bring our animal friends into space, how will we deal with allergies and the things that cause them?

    I guess all the air is filtered anyway but those filters are going to get clogged with hair every single day. Do we send hairless cats and dogs or make them wear clothes?

  • Edward

    Andrew_W,
    Nice point about the differences between cats and dogs. Such a small difference in point of view gives such a large difference in conclusions!

  • Andrew_W

    Cheers, Edward.

  • ken anthony

    I say cats in space are fine, just don’t forget the cucumbers!

    I knew a guy that trained his cat for space. You could tie this cat into a knot and he would stay that way until you lifted him up. His training method? He put the cat in a toilet bowl, closed the lid and flushed it repeatedly for about an hour.

    Not that I recommend it, but this was the least neurotic cat I’ve ever met in my life.

  • Andrew_W

    Ken, the cat was dead.

  • PeterF

    I’d like to see how an octopus reacted to weightlessness. Probably would adapt easily as it is used to the buoyancy of water. And it would likely be able to withstand higher Gs than us air breathers.

  • Edward

    PeterF,
    I’m not so sure. Fish take a few days to adapt to zero G, so octopuses and squids may also. Here is an abstract to a science paper describing an experiment on Skylab 3:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1156300

    Here is a video of a fish on a parabolic flight:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oibjzDjhmLg (1 minute)

    I found a YouTube short describing some results of the Skylab 3 experiment:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8Im03PgFYU (16 seconds)

    But if there are fish or octopuses up there, too, the cat will have something to watch or to do.

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